Friday, August 31, 2012

The Most Familial Adventure: Navigating A Family Campout: Contributing at Mealtime

 What a slimy lump of meat, fellow adventurer!

A family outing is incomplete without a dutch oven dinner. If you are going on family outings and not eating dutch oven dinners, you are not an actual family. The dutch oven is the symbol of the crucible that is family togetherness. If you trap a bunch of people in one place for a long time and apply loads of hot coals, they will grow closer together and become one delicious lump. There's probably a less cannibalistic approach, but it works for our purposes.

The first step in cooking a dutch oven dinner is doing whatever your dad tells you too, because you don't actually know how to cook a dutch oven dinner.

REMEMBER: Your only skill is following directions. You are an excellent lackey.

 Only the most trusted lackeys cut the chicken

Now that you've followed a bunch of instructions, you're ready for step two: The step with more instructions. As with all dutch oven dishes, this one requires a lot of barbecue sauce (this is true even of peach cobbler, trust me). So get out your favorite (only) barbecue sauce and start pouring!

FUN TIP: When your mother tells you to pour half the sauce in there, ask your dad how much he thinks should go in. Undoubtedly, he will tell you to put the whole thing in, which is much more fun than half.

One man should not have this much fun (unless that mean is me)!

Now that whatever you just made (I'm really not sure) is ready, it's time to stand around and wait for someone to yell at you. At this point, someone is, without fail, making some sort of potato-based dish. In this case, my mother is making a creamy, cheesy, starchy something with hash browns.

Whatever it is, I'll eat it in the name of adventure 

Now comes the final step of your involvement. Do you think it has something to do with the actual cooking of the food? That's very naive of you.  Your family doesn't trust you with fire, fellow adventurer! Not since you set fire to that paper bag in the middle of your room. Given, that was eighteen years ago, but clearly your family has some trust issues.

But your job is pretty great, even if it doesn't involve fire. Dump a bag of cheese on something!

Peach cobbler? Probably.

Now you're a dutch oven master! Congrats, fellow adventurer!

Conclusion: Adventure In Progress! Also, all things cooked in dutch ovens are peach cobbler at their core with slight variations.

Join us next time for the rock skipping competition!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Most Familial Adventure: Navigating a Family Campout: Boat Sport Spectating

What a strenuous day, fellow adventurer!

Camping. Freedom. America. These are all words that mean something. In other words (no pun intended, unless you found it funny, in which case, pun fully intended), these are all words that have definitions. We're on part two of our campout adventure, and, fellow adventurer, I'm sure you feel the thick, paste-like blood of a patriot coursing through your veins like never before. Now that you're feeling invigorated, it's a good time to do things that the less adventurous might find stupid.

Specifically, I'm talking about being dragged by a boat at high speeds through frigid water, your arms flailing like wet noodles and your hands blistering with the strain. But for every adventurer out on the open water, there's five more brave souls watching him and hoping that he gets in a spectacular wreck.

Reggie Pack (Senior Adventurer, 2nd Class) riding a flimsy plank of wood

Some adventurers might think they're too good to ride in the boat, deeming it "too safe." But it's a well-documented fact that there are over 300 boat-related deaths since time began. With that in mind, perch yourself on the back of the boat, effectively putting your life in the hands of someone who probably never achieved the rank of captain and may have never even been in the Navy (I'm looking into it, but the chances are pretty slim).

Now that you've come down off of your high horse and agreed to sit in the boat, watch as the first adventurer climbs out and awkwardly flails around in the water. It may take him a few tries to get going, but eventually he'll be up, slicing through the water like a hot knife through the soft skin of a baby deer (which would probably slice through pretty well).

REMEMBER: Even though the wakeboarder can't hear you, shout encouragement/discouragement anyway, because it feels good to be included.

Reggie, showing off like a jerk

Now it's your turn to ride the waves, fellow adventure!

SUBSTITUTION TIP: Instead of getting out of the boat, where it's cold and decidedly more "drowny," stay on your comfortable seat and claim that you need to take pictures for posterity's sake.

Conclusion: Adventure In Progress! Also, Reggie's display of fancy tricks may just get him demoted for making me look bad.

Join me next time when we make a dutch oven dinner!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Most Familial Adventure: Navigating a Family Campout: Getting There

Adventure, ahoy, fellow adventurer!

The family campout is perhaps the most dreaded adventure. In some families, it's an annual terror. We live in constant fear that, at any time, we could have a trip to the backwoods dropped on us. The most important way to deal with that terror is to fuel it with speculation on the myriad ways in which you might be killed on this campout.

REMINDER: You will probably die.

Let's say you and your family are headed to Red Fish Lake in Idaho for a fun-filled week. What should you pack? That's your problem and I refuse to help you. However, I will suggest that you "forget" to bring a swimsuit as an excuse to not enter into a long swim with your overzealous brother. It's not worth the lake water you imbibe in the process.

Once you and your family arrive at the marina, unpack your gear in the hopes that someone at the campsite on the other side of the lake magically knows you're there, since cell phone reception is a bust. After waiting for twenty minutes, some less-experienced adventurers might pack up and leave to find a campsite on the marina-side of the lake. But not the King. Let the others drive off while you wait for the boat. It will show up. Probably.

REMINDER: It will show up, I swear it will...won't it?

Once the boat shows up, gather the family.

FUN TIP: Since you can't contact your family via cell phone, run around the parking lot for a while, cursing your own stupidity. Eventually they'll come back!

Load up the boat and set out across the lake. Since the sun is gone, you'll have to create your own light source for the boat. It does not matter how useless your light source is, as long as you feel like you're contributing.

Me and Adam Pack (Senior Adventurer, 2nd class), acting as temporary figureheads for the boat

Once you reach shore, the first step will be to set up a campsite. Putting up tents in the dark is a necessary skill for any adventurer, since the adventurer is, like the jaguar, nocturnal (are jaguars nocturnal?). Tents should be run down and made of paper if you desire to be a true adventurer, but since I've paid my dues (and my dad happens to like luxurious camping), this may be a bit beyond you. 

 Standing room!

Now sleep.

Now wake up.

The first step in the morning will be, of course, to set up the hammock and take a nap.

 The Senior Adventurer in his natural habitat

Eventually, someone will get around to cooking you breakfast. So work up an appetite by going for a morning swim!

SUBSTITUTION TIP: Instead of going for a morning swim, just relax and wait until breakfast. You're probably hungry without the excess effort unless you have some sort of glandular problem.

Jeremy Pack (Senior Adventurer, 2nd Class) cooks some sausage poorly, probably

Now that you've eaten breakfast, you're ready for a day of adventure/terror! Next up: Watching people do dumb things in the water.

Conclusion: Adventure In Progress! Also, I make a pretty attractive figurehead.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Most Excruciating Adventure: Socializing at a Wedding Reception

What a miserable ordeal, fellow adventurer!

When two people fall in love, sometimes they make the mistake of getting hitched. But it's a glorious mistake, fellow adventurer! Marriage is the ultimate expression of blah blah blah and when a man and woman enter into it, blah blah blah. 

But while weddings are wonderful for the bride and groom, tradition doesn't take into account the pain and agony that everyone else has to go through. The most trying ordeal for everyone is of course the dreaded reception.

The gift table, which puts a material value to your love for the bride and groom

The first step of the reception process is walking past the gift table and realizing that you brought nothing. The trick here is to glance at the table once and then rush past it in the hopes that no one will notice your lack of gifts. If you stand around looking at the tags on the gifts, everyone will know that you're thinking of stealing their gift and they will get real angry.

A line of people with inexplicably sweaty palms

Once you've managed to make your way up to the handshaking portion of the line, enjoy those first couple of handshakes with the father and sister of the bride, who you've never met. When the father of the bride asks if you and your date are married, tell him, "No." This leads to the greatest bit of awkward small talk ever exchanged: "Well, this is what you have to look forward to." Look at your date and smile awkwardly.

The happy couple, being happy

When you get to the couple, wait for the bride to realize where she knows you from (it's from several visits to the groom's home). Then give her some cryptic advice. For example: "You'll have to watch this guy!" Because apparently he's prone to running away and/or stealing things when you aren't looking.

FUN TIP: The more unsettling the cryptic advice, the more opportunity you have to plant the seed of doubt in the bride's mind. Write down some real zingers before you go.

Give the groom (your cousin) a manly hug and reference some moment from the bachelor party ("Glad you got all cleaned up!" "You too." "Only barely!" "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!").

Now escape the line and head straight for the cheesecake.

The single American male: A portrait of depression

A quick word to the single adventurer at the reception. Remember watching all those chick flicks 
(because you are a chick or because you thought doing so would somehow make you more attractive to girls (it didn't)) where two people, complete opposites, meet at the reception of their friends? This will never happen for you.

REMEMBER: It will never ever happen.

Find solace in the fact that the cheesecake is delicious and leave once the sappy music starts playing and everyone starts cuddling up close. It will only drive you down deeper into the dark crevice of depression...


If you find yourself at a reception where dancing is a thing (because apparently that's still a thing that people do), use the excuse that you have to take pictures of the dancing to avoid actually joining in. 

REMEMBER: Your date probably wants to dance, but don't give in to what they want just because it will make them happy.

The groom, dancing with someone who is not the bride (scandal)

After the band has played the sixth or seventh song, the bride's sister will inevitably have a guitar and a song (or two) in her heart. Listen to the first song (because it's courteous (and because she's actually pretty good (actually))). But once the second song starts, head for the car in the hopes that you, date in tow, won't get stopped by your relatives so that they tell you that you're next and ask when you're planning to get married to your date, who is probably far less uncomfortable than you think she is because you're projecting your own insecurities on her (wipe your forehead, you're sweating).

Conclusion: Adventure Accomplished! Also, only bring a date to a reception if you're a true adventurer who is willing to suffer through the terrible ordeal of introducing a girl to your family.

Go to, fellow adventurer!